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Course Syllabus

Fall 2020

IND 501/506 – Ethics and Professional Integrity in Research

Course dates: September 1 – November 3, 2020
Small group sessions (starting Sept 8): Tuesdays, 8:00 – 9:00am, 4:30 - 5:30pm, or 6:00 – 7:00pm
Course delivery mode: ‘Completely online’ (or ‘Online’ for IND 501-1) with asyynchronous lectures and asynchronous small group sessions held via Zoom


Course Directors

Robert Freeman, PhD
Department of Pharmacology and Physiology
Office: Medical Center, room 4-6718
Phone:  273-4893

Kelley O’Donoghue, MPH, CIP
Office for Human Subjects Protection
Office: Saunders Research Bldg., suite 1-250
Phone: 273-4631

Office Hours:  By appointment

Course Administrator

Benjamin Lovell
Office: Graduate Education & Postdoctoral Affairs, room G-9556
Phone: 275-5022

Course Website

Prerequisites:  None

Instructional Staff




Paul Brookes, PhD


John Cullen, PhD

1-208 (SRB)

Stephen Dewhurst, PhD

2-11112 (MRBX)

Robert Freeman, PhD


Robert Gross, MD, PhD


Paige Lawrence, PhD 4-5702C

Adrienne Morgan, PhD


Kelley O’Donoghue, MPH

1-250 (SRB)

James Palis, MD

1-11116 (MRBX)

David Topham, PhD


Jeff Wyatt, DVM


Course Description

Inherent to the scientific method is the belief that scientists, whether in the basic sciences, clinical or social sciences, are honest in the conduct of their research and presentation of their results. Equally important is that we make our results public, so that others can build upon the knowledge that we have gained. To avoid wasting time, effort, and increasingly scarce resources, every effort should be made to ensure that the results we describe are reproducible and reliable and based on data obtained and analyzed using rigorous approaches. Through adherence to these principles, vast knowledge has been acquired and new frontiers have been opened and explored.

Unfortunately, some individuals, whether through peer or professional pressure, frustration, or the desire for personal and professional gain, have chosen to take shortcuts or otherwise act deceptively in their research or the presentation of their results. In fact, there is widespread and growing awareness of published research findings that are neither reproducible nor reliable. Such abuses of the principles of the scientific method – whether intentional or the result of ignorance, sloppiness, or experimenter bias – can jeopardize the work of others and impede or even prevent the research advances we have come to expect from the scientific endeavor.

Worse still, the abuse of the time-tested principles of honesty and integrity in research can erode the foundation upon which research is valued by the public at large. For this reason, government agencies and professional societies have developed guidelines and codes of behavior to be applied by scientists in the conduct of their own research and when reviewing the work of others.

Through a series of lectures and small group discussions, IND 501/506 provides information and insights on important tenets and topics that the National Institutes of Health considers essential to the responsible conduct of biomedical research. While some of the issues and guidelines that will be discussed are straightforward and clear cut, others require ethical or moral considerations. In such cases, the dilemmas may be difficult to resolve, as they often lack clear, explicit answers. In other instances, US federal law will prescribe certain steps are taken. Nonetheless, we may not all agree with these laws. But as scientists, we must engage in open dialogue (including honest disagreement) as we make every effort to understand and apply ethical and responsible research principles to our work.

Course Aims and Objectives

  • To understand the importance of applying ethical principals during the conduct of biomedical research.
  • To understand the basic framework of the guidelines, rules and regulations that exist to manage ethical issues that arise in biomedical research.
  • To acquire a set of basic biomedical ethics resources to apply to biomedical research.
  • To understand the importance of carrying out research that is reproducible and reliable and to appreciate the many factors that go into conducting rigorous research.  

Course Policies and Expectations

Training in Ethics and Professional Integrity in Research at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry is required of all first-year graduate students and new postdoctoral appointees in the biomedical and health sciences. Active participation in all 10 modules of IND 501/506 fulfills this initial requirement and provides students a foundation on which to continue their training in the responsible conduct of research in subsequent years.

Class modules consist of a pre-recorded lecture followed by a live small group discussion held via Zoom. The discussion groups are facilitated by faculty preceptors and employ a case study approach to help students understand issues related to research integrity, recognize conflicting ethical principles, and explore their own individual attitudes and prejudices.

Viewing all 10 lectures and attending all 9 small group discussion sessions, is mandatory. If an absence is unavoidable, one missed session may be permitted with the appropriate documentation (e.g., doctor’s note). Except in the case of a medical emergency, you must notify the Course Coordinator PRIOR to any missed session. Completion of a writing assignment will be required before any missed session will be excused.

To verify attendance and viewing of lecture videos, participants must complete the online ‘lecture quiz’ in each module. Attendance at small group sessions will be monitored by each group’s faculty facilitator. Students entering a Zoom small group session >10 min after the start of the session will be marked absent for that session, and a written assignment will be required.

Materials and Access

Key resources:

On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research, 3rd edition, National Academy Press, Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy, National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine. Washington, DC, 2009. 

ORI - Introduction to the Responsible Conduct of Research, by Nicholas Steneck, issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Research Integrity. Washington, DC, 2007.

All other course materials, including any required and supplemental Ethics and Professional Integrity in Research resources, will be available on the course website on Blackboard:

Need Help with Blackboard?

Assignments and Grading Procedures

IND 501 is a 1-credit course graded according to a Satisfactory/Fail (S/E) scheme.
IND 506 is a non-credit course and is graded according to a Satisfactory/Fail (S/E) scheme.

In general, graduate students should register for IND 501 and postdoctoral researchers for IND 506. Note that these courses are NOT available to audit.

Grades are based on viewing of lecture material and satisfactory completion of lecture quizzes, attendance and participation in small group discussions, and completion of the online course evaluation, each of which is required to receive a satisfactory grade.

Reminder: Attendance at ALL discussion groups is MANDATORY.

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core value of the University of Rochester. Students who violate the University of Rochester University Policy on Academic Honesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Since academic dishonesty harms the individual, other students, and the integrity of the University, policies on academic dishonesty are strictly enforced. For further information on the University of Rochester Policy on Academic Honesty, please visit the following websites:

Students in this course are expected to conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner, as well as to respect the intellectual work of others. While students should complete all required readings and work on their own, open discussions with others regarding course content and issues that arise in the case studies are always encouraged. Any writing assignment completed in lieu of an approved absence must represent the student’s own work, with any ideas or text taken from others appropriately identified and cited (this includes content taken from the internet).

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities Students needing academic adjustments or accommodations because of a documented disability must contact the Disability Resource Coordinator for the school in which they are enrolled (see link below for contact information). Contact Disability Resource Coordinator

Course Schedule

Lecture posted on Blackboard


Presenter Corresponding small group session

September 1

Course Introduction / Data Management & Ownership / “The Lab”

Robert Freeman, PhD  


September 3-4

Human (Clinical) Experimentation / Conflict of Interest

Kelley O’Donoghue, MPH, CIP

Sept 8

September 10-11

Animal Experimentation Jeffery Wyatt, DVM Sept 15

September 17-18

Mentor-Mentee Relationship Paige Lawrence, PhD Sept 22

September 24-25

Collaboration and Team Science David Topham, PhD Sept 29

October 1-2

Unconscious Bias and the Impact on our Research Environment

John Cullen, PhD, and Adrienne Morgan, PhD

Oct 6

October 8-9

Publishing Research Results – Authorship and Transparency Robert Gross, MD, PhD Oct 13

October 15-16

Scientific Misconduct

Paul Brookes, PhD Oct 20

October 22-23

Research Rigor and Reproducibility

Robert Gross, MD, PhD

Oct 27

November 29-30

Ethics of Stem Cell Research and Therapeutics James Palis, MD Nov 3

Small Group Discussion Facilitators

Facilitators help ensure that all students attend, participate, and are respectful to one another, and they help to keep the group on track.  Facilitators also encourage students to explore each case more deeply.



David Auerbach, PhD

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

John Allen Bennett, PhD

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

Ryan Burke, PhD

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

Mary G. Carey PhD, RN

Clinical Nursing Research Center

Melissa Carmen, MD

Pediatrics (Neonatology)

Myra Coppage, PhD

HLA/Tissue Typing Laboratory

Alan Grossfield, PhD

Biochemistry and Biophysics

Janet Lighthouse, PhD

Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute

Sanjay Maggirwar, PhD, MBA

Micro & Immunology

David MacLean, PhD

Pharmacology & Physiology

Matthew McCall, PhD


Ying Meng, PhD

UR CTSI/School of Nursing

Jennifer Nayak, MD

Pediatrics/Microbiology & Immunology

Anita Peoples, PhD, MPH

Surgery (Cancer Control Program)

Homaira Rahimi, MD

Pediatrics (Pediatric Rheumatology)

Caroline Silva, PhD


Nicole Trabold, PhD


Terry Wright , PhD

Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases)

Michael Zuscik, PhD


Substitute Facilitators

Substitute Facilitators


Paul Brookes, PhD


Scott Cameron, MD, PhD

Clinical Cardiology

Louis DiVincenti, Jr., DVM

Large Animal Medicine & Research

Meghan Fox, Psy D


Suzannah Iadarola, PhD

Pediatrics (Neurodev & Behavioral)

Kevin Mazurek, PhD


Christopher Seplaki, PhD

Public Health Sciences

Patricia White, PhD

Neurobiology and Anatomy

AnnaLynn Williams, MS


Andrew Wojtovich, PhD